Asgærd was an English folk-psych band that released the album In the Realm of Asgærd on Threshold in 1972. Half the band hailed from hard-rockers Stonehouse, which issued one album the prior year on RCA.

Members: James Smith (vocals), Ted Bartlett (vocals), Rod Harrison (guitar, vocals, 1971-?), Peter Orgill (violin), Dave Cook (bass), Ian Snow (drums), Pete Spearing (guitar)


Asgærd formed in late 1971 when singer James Smith and Ian Snow, both recently of Plymouth hard-rockers Stonehouse, teamed with ex-Bulldog Breed guitarist and singer Rod Harrison.

Smith and Snow’s prior band only existed for a short time but did make one album, the 1971 RCA release Stonehouse Creek, an effort dominated by their guitarist and songwriter Pete Spearing.

Harrison started in psych-rockers Please, a band that underwent multiple iterations in a short space of time, including membership tradeoffs with Gun. After numerous recordings but no vinyl, they morphed into Bulldog Breed and released the album Made In England on Deram in 1969.  Later that year, three late-period members left Harrison and formed the powertrio T2.

Drawn to the folk-psych sound, Smith, Snow, and Harrison recruited bassist Dave Cook, violinist Peter Orgil, and second vocalist Ted Bartlett. They took their name from Asgard, the palace of the gods in Norse mythology. They spelled the name with a Latin diphthong, forming the second vowel with a combined a and e (æ).

Asgærd caught the attention of Gerry Hoff, the chief producer for Threshold Records, a Decca sublabel recently established by the Moody Blues for their own releases and those of like-minded artists.

In the Realm of Asgærd

Asgærd released In the Realm of Asgærd in June 1972 on Threshold. It features eight originals, including “Town Crier,” “Starquest,” “Time.” and the title track. Harrison wrote those and three other cuts (“Friends,” “Children of a New Born Age,” “Lorraine”) on his own. He also imported an unused earlier co-write, “Austin Osman Spare” (about the Edwardian English occultist), from his time in Bulldog Breed, where songs were credited between the four members.

Hoff produced the bulk of side one and delegated the rest to Moodies producer Tony Clarke, who engineered all of side two with help on “Children” from Moody Mike Pinder. The opening title track was engineered by Derek Varnals (The Web, World of Oz, Kathe Green, Dana Gillespie). The rest of side one was engineered by Adrian Martins (Keef Hartley Band, Martha Velez, East of Eden, Bloodstone) with assistance from studio newcomer John Rollo, who later engineered titles by Sweet, Batti Mamzelle, Kestrel, and Ultrafunk. Sessions took place at Decca and Threshold Studios.

In the Realm of Asgærd sports a vertical gatefold sleeve by the design studio Flying Colours. The rainbow emblazoned brick formation (front) is the top of an entrance tower. When extended, the bottom shows the grassy lawn, leafless trees, giant serpents, black beast, and armored men that guard the gated red trail to Asgard. The inner-spread contains lyrics and b&w studio shots of the band by photographer Chris Parker, later credited on albums by Rupert Hine and The Fixx.

The original release of In the Realm of Asgærd (cat# THS 6) appeared just ahead of titles by the Moody Blues (Seven Sojourn, THS 7), Trapeze (You Are the Music …We’re Just the Band, THS 8), and the Pacific Northwest chamber-folk ensemble Providence (Ever Sense the Dawn, THS 9).

Threshold issued two singles from In the Realm of Asgærd: “Children of a New Born Age” (b/w “Friends”) and a promo 7″ of the title track (b/w “Town Crier”). “In the Realm of Asgærd” appears on the 1973 German comp Rock-News Vol. 12 Juni 73 with cuts by Wishbone Ash, David Bowie, Chicken Shack, the Atlanta Rhythm Section, Jeremy Steig, and Brainticket.

Later Activity

Harrison played lead guitar and sang backup on Act Naturally, a 1976 folk album by singer Tammi Sioux. He’s the credited writer on the side two track “Crystal Chandeliers.”

In the Realm of Asgærd was first reissued in 1994 on a Japanese CD bearing the Threshold imprint. A 30th anniversary pressing appeared on the Russian pirate label Alcinous Ltd, which also excavated titles by Steel Mill, Fantasy, Second Hand, Bram Stoker, Woody Kern, Stud, Cirkus, and Skin Alley. CD reissues have since appeared on Progressive Line (Australia, 2003), Esoteric Recordings (UK, 2010), and Dogtoire (Russia, 2011).


  • In the Realm of Asgærd (1972)


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